Leon Clark

How does your experience with Mayo education compare to previous educational experiences you have received at other institutions?

I have been extremely impressed with the individualized education that Mayo gives its students. The one-on-one mentoring that I am afforded, as well as the collaborative efforts between the physicians, scientists, students, and other faculty, has enriched my educational experience. The seminars and group sessions has also given me the opportunity to network with faculty and students from around the Mayo campus and explore multiple career fields.

What kind of opportunities have you been introduced to since being at Mayo?

I have been able to work in a lab for the past two years, shadow my research mentor in the operating room, and attend biomedical engineering seminars as well as weekly SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) seminars that help expose me to more opportunities in research.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic verses other academic institutions?

Mayo has always felt like home for me. I grew up in Rochester, so being around an excellent institution of research, education, and patient care is not something I can easily run away from.

What is your program like? What sorts of projects/workshops have you done?

The SURF program is an eight-week research program in which students are paired with a faculty mentor to conduct a research project. Students also attend seminars that give them information on graduate school and medical school. I have been working on a project that entails using adeno-associated viruses to target phrenic motor neurons in hopes for future use in spinal cord injury therapy.

What do you feel the atmosphere is like at Mayo Clinic?

Mayo Clinic is a welcoming environment in which great minds come together in a collaborative effort to enhance the lives of patients. There is always breakthrough science and great patient care happening, which makes Mayo a great environment to learn and grow in.

What is your everyday life like in Rochester?

I typically take a 15-minute bus ride to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, where my lab is. After work, I often go downtown with some of the other students in my lab and enjoy what the town has to offer. After that, I am off to my house for a nice dinner and bed. The work days are exciting, because there is always something to do. Rochester also has a lot to offer students in the evenings.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on going to medical school next fall.

If you could describe Mayo in one word, what would it be?


What kinds of activities are you involved in Rochester?

I have volunteered at Mayo, sang in community choirs, attended local festivals and fairs, and taken full advantage of the great restaurants in town.

How does Rochester differ from your hometown or college?

I go to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., which is about half the size of Rochester. Besides being larger, Rochester is also more culturally rich. People from all around the country and the world to come to and work at Mayo. Rochester is also small enough so that there is a great community vibe to the area.

Dec. 05, 2013